Steamboat Springs City Council delays vote on lodging tax ballot language
August 6, 2013
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs City Council will take another two weeks to think over the ballot question that will ask voters here to commit the city’s lodging tax to the construction of trails and the Yampa River promenade for the next decade.
The delay came after leaders of the Steamboat Springs Trails Alliance expressed some concern that by splitting the revenue with the promenade in the first year as proposed, the city could miss out on an opportunity to provide matching funds for a potential multimillion-dollar state grant that could be used to extend the Yampa River Core Trail.
The council voted to table the ballot language until its Aug. 20 meeting so that it could consult with the city’s grant coordinator and learn more about the potential grant opportunity.
Aug. 20 also is the date the council is slated to decide how to spend the estimated $150,000 that will be leftover from the tax this year after the debt on Haymaker Golf Course officially is retired.
City Manager Deb Hinsvark said the city will propose that the balance be used as matching funds for state grants toward the construction of trails near Howelsen Hill.
The discussion about the ballot language came amid some other significant actions made by the council.
It voted unanimously to approve the first reading of the rules that will regulate the sale and use of recreational marijuana in the city.
The most significant change to the ordinance came when several council members changed the votes they cast at a previous meeting and decided pot shops should not be allowed to use the word marijuana and its synonyms in their signage.
Council member Walter Magill, who proposed the council reverse its previous direction to city staff about the sign restriction, said he talked to constituents who had concerns about the use of the word marijuana, pot and other synonyms in the signage.
The city’s current ordinance on medical marijuana facilities prohibits the words.
Kevin Kaminski, who voted with Sonja Macys and Cari Hermacinski to allow the words in the signage, said that if marijuana is to be regulated like alcohol as Amendment 64 prescribes, the word marijuana should be allowed in the advertising of the business.
"I think our community is ready to accept this," he said.
In other action, the council voted, 5-2, to suspend for two years the city’s rules that require developers to provide a certain number of affordable units or pay a fee toward their creation.
Council member Sonja Macys opposed the move. Council member Kenny Reisman preferred the suspension last only one year instead of two.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com